FM praises solution to dispute over Katyń memorial in US, as PM helps

Poland's Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said on Monday that the country has succeeded in bringing the dispute over the Katyń memorial in Jersey City to a successful conclusion. It also emerged that PM Mateusz Morawiecki was also involved in the efforts.

The controversy erupted on April 30, when Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said that he wanted to relocate the local monument to the victims of the Katyń Massacre, a mass killing of Polish army officers by the Soviet secret police in 1940.

The Polish diaspora and authorities in Warsaw, who had not been consulted, criticised the plans. The mayor then invited the Polish side for talks and confirmed on Saturday that the monument will remain by the Hudson River, in a "quieter place" some 60 metres from its current location at the city's Exchange Place.

Commenting on the issue and its conclusion, Czaputowicz told the Rzeczpospolita daily newspaper that "the coalition of support for keeping the Katyń memorial in Jersey City, this important testament to history, not only Polish history, expanded beyond diaspora circles and turned out to be effective."

Poland's top diplomat explained that the diaspora was helped by various institutions, as well as Poland's consul general in New York, Maciej Golubiewski, while Warsaw's ambassador in Washington, Piotr Wilczek, held talks with the American Congressmen.

It has also emerged that, in the key talks with the Jersey City mayor, Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki provided personal assistance.

Eric Lubaczewski, executive director of the Polish-American Chamber of Commerce, told PAP PM Morawiecki served as a "pillar of professional support" in the negotiations.

Meanwhile, sections of the Polish diaspora in Jersey City held a demonstration on Sunday, both in front of the memorial and the headquarters of the City Council, protesting against the relocation, which was set to be agreed upon in writing on Monday, claiming that the new site is not as prestigious as the former site.